Dragons’ Den: Wisdom does not always come with age

Having fallen victim to piracy in the past (ship-based, not the online kind), Michael J. Scott brought his “unique”, “affordable” and “technologically advanced” satellite system to the Dragons. The Matrix RSS detects ships that could pose a threat as they approach, and uses drones to stall the potential attackers.

Michael’s belief in his technology radiated through when under the Dragons’ fire as he batted away every question or issue brought up, including the level of technology discussed by both Piers and Peter, and the question of being sure that a potential attack is genuine before releasing defence mechanisms. Finally Deborah called Michael out on his stubbornness and arrogance, saying that he would be very difficult to work with. None of the Dragons made any investments.

Next in came two men who seem to have trouble misplacing things. With a solution to their problem of never being able to find a pen, they invented a pen that fits in the headphone jack of a smartphone. However the problems with this come in many forms; Piers demonstrated how easily destructible the pens are, Kelly pointed out that you would just end up losing that too when you want to use your headphones, and of course there is the fact that to fit in the headphone jack, this pen has to be tiny, which makes it much more easy to misplace and therefore negates the whole point of its existence. And let’s not forget that such a tiny pen would be so difficult to write with – it would be a lot less hassle to just find a regular pen. The Dragons seemed to all feel the same way and all backed away from investing.

Arriving to fuel my already existing ice cream craving came Yee Kwan with a slight twist on the frozen treat. With Asian inspired flavours and quality ingredients, Yee Kwan’s best sellers include green tea matcha, black sesame seed, and lychee. Duncan didn’t take too well to the flavours, however Peter ate three tubs during the pitch, and the other Dragons also seemed to enjoy them. The Dragons all expressed concerns about how to get this type of business off of the ground, and slowly declare themselves out until only Kelly and Deborah were left. Kelly offered the full £50,000 but asked for 35 per cent equity, 15 per cent more than offered by Yee Kwan. Deborah then also offered the full amount but for 30 per cent.

Upon being asked what they would bring to the investment, Deborah seemed unwilling to give reasons and stated that all of this information is on her website, continuing on to drop names like Waitrose, whilst Kelly gave a clear and concise answer. However despite this, the 5 per cent difference in offers seemed to sway it for Yee Kwan and she accepted Deborah’s offer.

Bringing functionality into the Den came former lawyer Tom. With lots of statistics proving that cyclists are the most vulnerable road users in Britain, Tom pitched his horn for bicycles, alongside a kid’s version of the product. Whilst this is a great idea and would certainly cause drivers to look again if they heard it, keen cycler Piers shared his issues with relying on technology instead of on his own eyes and instincts. The practicality of this product has to be put into question – for instance in my experience of driving a car, I’ve been too late getting to the horn in the times when I should’ve used it, and before I can process it the moment has passed and it is too late. When considering that all I have to do is shift my hand a little and push on the wheel, it has to be questioned whether reaching for the horn on the bicycle whilst reacting to a vehicle coming at you is really plausible.

The Dragons also voiced concerns regarding the product’s patent, and no offers were made for Tom.

Following something of a trend for sending boxes to online subscribers, a new take on the concept called SassyBloom was next to be pitched to the Dragons, by founders Darren, Holly and Paul. The idea behind the boxes is to send them to subscribers based on the age and development of their baby. Peter saw flaws in this customer base, but was immediately argued with by Paul. None of the Dragons made any offers and the trio left empty handed.

Last in this week’s episode came Cally, with his online shopping app named Mallzee. Almost like Tinder but for shopping, the app gives the user a range of products from various high street retailers to look at and like or dislike, and then learns the tastes of that user so that it can choose what to recommend. Mallzee already contains a lot of backing and could be an alternative way of online shopping, however Kelly argued that this will not replace the feeling of shopping in real life.

The Dragons found their reasons for not making any investments, until only Peter remained. Peter offered the full £75,000, however requested 20 per cent equity, when only 5 per cent was offered to begin with. Even after suggesting he would drop this after making his return, this was too big a chunk of the business to give away and Cally declined Peter’s offer.

Despite leaving with nothing, Mallzee is the most promising business idea pitched in the Den this week, and although I would be very interested in trying some black sesame seed ice cream, Mallzee may be the next big thing despite having no help from the Dragons.


Cara's Dragon Watch

Cara Lack will be joining us each week to take us through the good, bad and ugly pitches of the season.

Cara Lack will be joining us each week to take us through the good, bad and ugly pitches of the season.